Governor Wes Moore is calling on the federal government to declare the expanding population of invasive fish species—including blue catfish, flathead catfish, and snakehead—to be an ongoing commercial fishery disaster in the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The governor sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo requesting the declaration under provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act. “In recent years, the state has become increasingly concerned about the explosion in the abundance of invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay, including blue catfish, flathead catfish, and snakehead,” said Governor Moore. “It is critical to act now to mitigate the effects of these invasive species and to provide assistance to the commercial fishing industry.” The declaration would qualify Maryland for federal fishery disaster assistance. Since 2012, the total catch of seven of Maryland’s marquee commercial fishery species that share their habitat with invasive fish at some point in their life cycle has declined between 27% and 91%. The dockside value of these species has likewise declined between 12% and 85%. Commercial fisheries—including hard blue crab, striped bass, yellow perch, and others—have brought in an average $64 million yearly in dockside value […]
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